Recipes: L&B Spumoni Gardens-Galleria Umberto-Sfincione
By now, you should already have received my tribute to some of my favorite square slices, “Sicilians” from Brooklyn’s L&B Spumoni Gardens and Boston’s Galleria Umberto, and the O.G. Sicilian, the sfincione. Below you’ll find my recipes for a mashup version of the first two, and a sfincione.
Each uses the same base dough: white flour, with 30% semolina flour for crispness without extra gluten (semolina is high in protein, but not in necessarily gluten-forming ones). The dough is mixed in a machine, then proofed at room temperature until puffy before an overnight in the fridge. In order to give the crust a tight, even crumb, the dough is rolled out to fit the baking sheet and then proofed with a second sheet pan set on top of it. The latter is a trick I devised to mimic something I saw being done at L&B, namely topping the crust before the hour-ish long final proof. Rather than let the toppings sit out at room temperature for that time, I just use another sheet pan as a temporary stand-in. The dough puffs up, but it remains compact and controlled, which helps provide the proper cake-like crumb.
I also do something a little unusual and new here: coat the pan with refined coconut oil or shortening (I use coconut oil as a good stand-in for the latter), something that is done in many Greek and South Shore bar pizza joints here in Massachusetts. This has a few useful effects. One, it is solid at room temperature, which helps it cover the pan easily and completely. Two, it helps holds the dough in place as it proofs, to stop it from stretching back. (This effect is less important in the case of these particular pizzas, since the top pan helps hold it down, but will come into play when we get to my Detroit recipe later this month). And three, and most importantly, being high in saturated fat, it does a better job of “frying” the bottom crust, for added crispness.
There are two different tomato sauce recipes here: a grated onion-based one for the sfincione, and my standard cooked-tomato pizza sauce, itself based upon Marcella Hazan’s ubiquitous tomato-butter pasta sauce1 (in the latter, the onion halves are removed and discarded before use).
As I mentioned in the previous post, these recipes all get topped “upside-down,” with the cheese under the sauce. Because this is in part meant to protect the crust from the sauce, I like to buy the cheese deli-sliced and puzzle-piece it over the dough as depicted above, to provide an even, solid single layer.
The sauce goes over the cheese and is then covered with the final toppings. A breadcrumb-herb-cheese mixture (aka “pangrattato,” or grated bread, in Italian) and anchovies, in the case of the sfincione:
Or a dusting of hard cheeses and a little olive oil, in the case of the L&B-Umberto mashup:
Both of these pies are baked on a preheated baking surface (preferably a steel), set in the lower half of the oven, in order to promote good browning and crisping on the underside of the pie without overcooking the toppings.
You’ll find both of these recipes below. As always, let me know if you notice anything in need of correcting or explaining in more detail.
Sfincione/L&B Spumoni Gardens-Galleria Umberto Mashup Pizza Recipe
Serves 6 to 8